Thaipusam 2018 @Batu Caves

Having missed last year’s Thaipusam due to work related travels, it felt good to be able to make it to this year’s celebration. Thinking I could avoid the extreme crowd and move around relatively easier and unhindered, I was over at the celebration grounds in the wee hours of 31st January. Alas, it was of no consequence as it was as crowded as I had experienced it on previous visits, possibly even more crowded by the looks of it, my ‘grand’ plan to beat the crowd came to nought and lack of sleep unrewarded :(.

A Lord Murugan Figurine Mounted On A Kavadi

The experience and mental picture of the grounds/happenings from previous visits helped me to settle down and move around the grounds quicker, avoiding the crowd where possible. This year’s event was as crowded and busy as before, yes, but I felt it lacked that bit of sparkle, intensity, colour somehow, maybe it was because I spotted less kavadis, less intense spiritual feats, or maybe that’s just how it is with the celebration in the wee hours of the morning! I was there from 1.30am till 7am, by about when I could feel the effects of sleep deprivation getting the better of me, packed it in and duly headed home for some much needed sleep. I have a number of earlier posts on Thaipusam (links can be found at the bottom of this post) and will not write about it again here, would rather just let each photo tell its own visual Thaipusam story. Hope you enjoy.

Devotee In A Trance Fulfilling The Thaipusam Ritual

Drumming It Up

Devotee In A Trance Led By An Assistant

It’s Extremely Crowded And These Ladies Are In Queue, Patiently Inching Their Way Toward The Temple Which Is A Long Way More To Go

Devotee In A Mayil Kavadi And Two Assistants Set To Go On The 272 Steps Up The Cave And Temple

Devotees Briefly Pray Upon Reaching The Stairs

Step By Step

Devotee In A Trance Making His Way Up The Stairs

Devotee In A Trance Making His Way Up The Stairs

Perfect Spot For A Selfie

Almost There, A Few More Steps To The Cave Entrance

Pierced Devotee’s Back With Pots Of Milk For Lord Murugan

Pierced Devotee’s Back With Cheroot Sticks

Piercings Removal Upon Completing The Ritual

Twitches From A Devotee Face When Piercings Were Removed

Holy Blessings For A Couple

Falling Back Into Consciousness

Waiting For Group Members To Reach The Temple

Banded Bros


Crowd Making Their Way Down The Stairs

Crowd Making Their Way Down The Stairs

My other posts on Thaipusam can be found here:




All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 23mm, XF 35mm and XF 55-200mm








Game Stalls Fun

Merry Go Round (Flying Horses), A Classic Ride And Attraction In Any Fun Park

The Euro Fun Park comes to town every year around October time frame at the Stadium Shah Alam car parking area. For a month, its colourful brightly lit ferris wheel and searchlight continuously searching the night sky signals its presence and attract visitors. As a traveling fun park, it’s not an extensive set-up; nevertheless, it still features quite a number of interesting fun rides and game stalls; something for everyone, for an evening of amusement and fun. On my way to the games stalls, this guy beckoned me for a frightening nightmare at his abode … sorry, not tonight, bro, I have a weak heart.

Over at the bingo game stall, a tense moment as the winning numbers were announced, ‘Be Happy’, Bingo …

Be Happy, Play Bingo

It’s not just the product, but how you sell it, this guy was certainly doing a great sales job over at the Neptune Darby, pulling in the crowd …

Come One, Come All, Join Me For A Game Of Neptune Darby

And in comparison with this friendly but less sales oriented guy, the difference is apparent …

Skill, luck and patience is a virtue, when you are fishing for the grand prize Doraemon …

Fishing For Doraemon

All  eyes on where the loop is going to land for a Mickey or Minnie …

Loop A Bottle And Win A Mickey Or A Minnie For The Loved One

The sharpshooter … the stance and handling tells it all, guess how many plush toys he walked away with that night 🙂

The Sharpshooter

Love, your giant teddy bear is on iiiiiiiiits way …

I Can Almost Hear The Cans Crashing

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm 1.4 & XF 23mm 1.4

IPA 2017 Honorable Mention

The annual IPA photography contest is something which I look forward to annually to submit some of my work for the year which I personally like, to ascertain if they can hold their own within a field of international entries from other capable and talented photographers around the world. For IPA 2017, I submitted less entries than previous two years as I have been shooting less through the year due to work commitments. It is also the first time I had a go at the ‘series’ category and am happy to receive an honorable mention for it. I am pleased with the outcome and to share it with you here on my ongoing photography journey.

Under the ‘Event/Traditions & Cultures’ category – ‘A Final Prayer To Goddess Durga’

In Hinduism, Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe, the power behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the world. The protector from the evils of the world, Goddess Durga is portrayed as carrying weapons in her many arms and riding a lion. Durga Puja is a celebration of the Mother Goddess victory of good over evil, one of the most important festivals of India. The nine day celebrations include rituals to ward one of impurities, vices and defects, adoring Goddess Durga as the giver of spiritual wealth and the goddess of wisdom. Devotees offer a final prayer in earnest to Goddess Durga on the last day of the celebrations to bestow on them spirituality, wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, strength, knowledge, etc. before she returns back to the heavens. Apart from being a religious festival, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation among family and friends.

The set was shot in October 2016 on the last day of the Durga Puja in Mumbai. I remember that night well at Juhu Beach, it was packed and bustling with activities as devotees/celebrants went about their prayers, amid a spiritual and divine calmness, and colourful vibrant atmosphere. I have not seen anything like it before and every moment was new and an experience indeed! Some were curious and happy to see me there taking an interest in the proceedings and photographing, some made me feel welcome, we chatted, got acquainted, and I even got to try some of the ceremonial food they offered for good luck. There were requests for some photos, which I was only happy to reciprocate and sent them later. All in, I was there for a good 5-6 hours and took quite a number of photos; out of these, I picked the above five for my entry which I feel captures the essence and emotion of how families, relatives, friends and communities from near and far come together to offer their final prayer to goddess Durga Puja in different settings and scale, all with a common purpose and pure adoration for their mother goddess. Hope you like the photos … they were taken as is, handheld, none were posed.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm & XF 23mm

This year, The International Photography Awards received 14267 of submissions from over 165 countries.

About the International Photography Awards
The International Photography Awards conducts an annual competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. Each year, the International Photography Awards (IPA) invites passionate photographers, to compete for the title of Photographer of the Year, Discovery of the Year and Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. A board of esteemed professionals in the field juries the competition: curators, photo editors, gallery owners, art directors, and other luminaries from the international photography community. The awards includes a Lucie Statue and cash prizes totaling over $20,000, exhibition and publication opportunities.

About the Lucie Awards
The Lucie Awards is the annual event honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The photography community from countries around the globe will pay tribute to the most outstanding photography achievements presented at the Gala Awards ceremony. Each year, the Advisory Board nominates deserving individuals across a variety of categories who will be honored during the Lucie Awards ceremony. Once the nominations have been received, the votes are tallied and an honoree in each category is identified. The honorees are pre-announced months before the Lucie Awards. The Lucie Awards are a signature program of Lucie Foundation.